Optimism of Ignorance: The Handshake has Brought Change!


Politically speaking, H.E. Raila Odinga made the smartest move by meeting H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta. The handshake between the two was politically significant and life-changing.

It must, however, be noted that political benefits are reaped by politicians (not the people). In this case, the instant political advantage that shaking Kenyatta’s hand brought forth was reaped by Odinga alone. If one were to be rigidly realistic, they would say, “It made no difference to me as an ordinary man. Life is still difficult, and the dead are still dead; we are still jobless and we still owe other countries billions. Over 70% of public offices are still occupied by Kikuyus. No one has yet been prosecuted for corruption even when we have a long list with us already.”

It must strictly be understood that this kind of perception doesn’t call for opposing Odinga’s arrangement with Kenyatta. On the contrary, it calls for citizens to give it benefit of the doubt and so give it a chance. In one way, this drastic peace-agreement has avoided the genocide this country was headed into, especially with the chants of the “Mother of All Liberation Wars.”

The role of Social Media influencers and pro-ODM opinion makers in this case should precisely be about telling the people the truth. That translates into telling them that they are yet to benefit from this deal; that they should be patient and wait for it’s advantages to roll out. It is wrong to tell people who have been suffering (despite these kinds of handshakes having happened some years back in 1997 & 2008 as they always allude) that “Baba is always right.” That is not enough. There should be more than that this time round.

The “Baba is always right” mantra is, in utmost sobriety, optimism of ignorance if not sycophancy.

The cold truth is that the only existing real importance of the now famous Odinga-Kenyatta handshake, is that it preserved Odinga’s political career.

Politics is ideological and to some extent egotistical. That’s why a handshake can make a politician instantly cross over to the Candy Mountains and start celebrating Christmas. It makes one lose touch with reality. The life of the ordinary citizen, unfortunately, is real. As the slang goes- The struggle is real.

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